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Environmental issues amongst the greatest uncertainties for the market in 2020
30 January 2020 | Ana Tavares

The great risks for the real estate market in 2020 are all related to environmental issues. These risks are the «most unpredictable» and their dimension is not yet known.

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This is one of the conclusions from Cushman & Wakefield’s new report Outlook 2020, a study which invited the sector’s players to pose a series of questions, instead of only coming up with solutions.

The study was presented this week in Lisbon by Andrew Phipps, Head of EMEA Research at C&W, according to whom the main issue is increasingly more «economy vs environment». The awareness of the human impact on the planet is increasingly more expanded, but the «sector hasn’t given it much thought». But right now, «it is a mandatory subject, and the challenge it presents to real estate is very real», alerted Phipps.

Investors are increasingly more alert, especially the big investors, who have started «following the rules of investment» with an environmental component. Nevertheless, «they remain very hesitant and driven by occupancy». The path of the future will be the one in which the environment will have the greater impact on investment. For example, a global warming resistant asset might be more valuable. Investors will become increasingly more willing to invest in «green» infrastructure.

In 2020, one the main challenges in terms of the environment for real estate will be the implementation of new legislation. In the EU alone, all the countries will implement more than 1.500 measures to fight climate change, related to real estate and that number will increase throughout the decade that is now starting.

2020 starts with a slow economy in Europe and the recession indicators low, as has been the case lately. There are many political changes all around the world, and the market is alert to them. The impact of technology, at least in terms of information, is yet to come: «we have a lot of data, but we do not yet base our big decisions on it».

One of the market’s main challenges will be access to housing, at a time of growing urbanisation and demographical change, with an increasingly older European population, which challenges the assets’ typologies and pension schemes. New asset typologies, such as coliving and cohousing have appeared and mixed projects have better chances of adapting to change.

All in all, for the person in charge of the study, what seems to be sure is that «life goes on, and people adapt».